Wolfburn Distillery

Wolfburn Northland & Morven

Wolfburn Distillery is located in the most northerly town on the British mainland, Thurso. It was first established in 1821 by William Smith and was the largest producer of whisky in Caithness in the 1820s. However, the distillery was closed in 1837 and remained inactive for over 160 years. In 2012, a private consortium from Caithness called Aurora Brewing received planning permission to rebuild Wolfburn, 350 m from the ruins of the original site and using the same water source, the Wolf Burn. Production commenced on January 25, 2013, marking the revival of this historic distillery. We’re trying two of their core releases: Wolfburn Northland and Morven.

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The Easy Sipper, Brig O'Perth & Pintail Tweet Tasting

The Easy Sipper, Brig O’Perth & Pintail

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to participate to a Tweet Tasting, thanks to Brexit and the pain it is to ship whisky, even samples, from the UK to Europe, especially France. More paperwork, duties, taxes… many distilleries don’t include European tasters any more in their Tweet Tastings. Sometimes just French ones, because it’s even more of a pain here, thanks to Customs and our taxes agency. No thank you to all those responsible! But Keith Bonnington, The Whisky Cellar founder, that we now know very well here, wanted me to be able to participate anyway, so he had the same tasting pack (and tee-shirt) sent to me as the other tasters. Thanks again Keith! No Whisky Cellar release this time, but five drams, four whiskies and one rum, from his other brands: The Easy Sipper, Brig O’ Perth and Pintail.

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Benriach The Twelve & The Smoky Twelve

Benriach Twelve & Smoky Twelve

Benriach Distillery, located in the heart of Speyside region of Scotland, was founded by John Duff in 1898. However, the distillery’s story is not without its twists and turns, as it was one of many that fell victim to the Pattison crash of 1899 and was forced to close just two years after opening. It remained dormant for the next 65 years, until it was finally restarted in 1965. Despite being part of Seagram’s Classic Malts range, it struggled to gain recognition among whisky drinkers. In 2003, it was bought by the Benriach Distilling Co. and under the leadership of Billy Walker, it has become a strong performer on the global market. The distillery was acquired by Brown-Forman in 2016, and it is now back in full production, with the floor maltings reopening in 2013. Benriach renewed its core range in 2020 with two ten-year-old and two twelve-year-old, each of those in peated and unpeated versions. We’ll be reviewing the latter two, the Benriach Twelve & Smoky Twelve.

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Speyside 1988 Le Gus't

Two Speyside 1988 Le Gus’t

Last year in December, we briefly mentioned Le Gus’t when we reviewed a Tomatin they bottled for La Confrérie du Whisky. Le Gus’t / Cave Conseil is a French off-licence and independent bottler located in the south-east of France, in Manosque first, but they also have a few shops around Marseille. They became an independent bottler in 2013 when their team went to Scotland to taste and select casks, and they started with a 1999, 12-year-old Bowmore very well received. We’re trying today two undisclosed Speyside 1988 from Le Gus’t, Selection XVIII and XXVI, as each of their bottling is numbered. Rumour has it that they both may be secret Mac***…

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GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 9

GlenDronach Grandeur 24yo Batch 9

Grandeur is a term that refers to the quality of being grand or impressive in size, appearance, or manner. It often implies a sense of splendour or magnificence, and is often used to describe things that are grand in scale or opulence. Grandeur can be applied to a wide range of subjects, from architecture and art to natural landscapes and events. It means something is impressive and awe-inspiring. High-end whisky is often associated with grandeur due to its luxurious and refined nature. Premium and aged whiskies, in particular, are often described as having a sense of grandeur due to their complex and rich flavours, as well as the impressive appearance of their bottles and packaging. GlenDronach distillery used Grandeur as the name of one of their expressions from the Special & Limited Releases range, so let’s see with this GlenDronach Grandeur batch 9 if the qualificative is deserved.

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Old Perth 1996

Old Perth 1996

Morrison Scotch Whisky Distillers (MSWD) is a family-owned business which sees them having several roles in the whisky industry. At the same time, they are grocers, brokers, blenders, bottlers and distillers. They were previously known as Morrison & Mackay, but they rebranded in 2020. You’ll probably know their independent bottling brand, Càrn Mòr, but they also bottle undisclosed Islay whisky with another brand, Mac-Talla. They also have a distillery in Perthshire, in the Lowlands, called Aberargie. I must admit I’ve never tried anything from this distillery. And finally, they have a couple of brands about blending, and the one that interests us is Old Perth. And more specifically, their Old Perth 1996 from the Vintage Collection.

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2007 Kilchoman Club 6th Edition

Kilchoman Club 6th Edition 2007

It’s our first time reviewing a Kilchoman on this humble blog. To be honest, up until now whisky coming from Kilchoman was not to my taste, I always found some off-notes (for my palate), something that didn’t suit me. But I’m always trying to stay open-minded, and so when I found a sample of Kilchoman in my whisky and spirits advent calendar, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give another go at this distillery. So let’s introduce them, and review a Kilchoman 2007, bottled for as the Kilchoman Club 6th Edition.

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Aberfeldy Distillery

Aberfeldy 15 and 16-year-old

Aberfeldy Distillery is a Scotch whisky distillery located in the town of Aberfeldy, in the heart of Scotland’s whisky country, Perthshire. The distillery was founded in 1896 by John Dewar & Sons, and it is now owned by Bacardi Limited. Their core range goes from a 12-year-old to a 21-year-old, and Aberfeldy is also the core of Dewar’s White Label blend. Let’s review the 16-year-old from the Aberfeldy core range and put it against a 15-year-old Exceptional Cask.

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Creations 1996 Light Fruity Syrupy Cadenhead's

Creations 1996 Cadenhead’s

The Cadenhead’s Creations range consisted of small batch blends, blended malts, and blended grains, with a maximum of 3 casks used in each blend. Sometimes, these were single cask releases. Featuring an old style dumpy bottle, this range saw twenty releases until 2019, when it was stopped. The Creations range included a variety of ages and the strength of each bottling was determined solely by taste. The Cadenhead Creations range was known for being particularly innovative and interesting among Cadenhead’s releases. These bottlings were not chill filtered or artificially coloured. We’re reviewing today one of them, the Creations 1996 Light Fruity Syrupy.

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The Dava Way

First Four ‘The Dava Way’ Bottlings

You have probably heard of Dunphail distillery, a soon-to-be distillery located a few miles south of Forres, in Speyside. Dunphail has been founded by Dariusz Plazewski, who already founded the deservedly hyped Bimber Distillery in London. Whilst Dunphail is not yet producing, and thus not making money (except by selling in advance founder packs and casks shares), they decided to add an independent bottling branch to the distillery. This branch is called The Dava Way, named after one of Scotland’s many long-distance walking and off-road cycling routes, between Forres and Grantown-on-Spey, and passing less than a mile from Dunphail distillery. My good friend Matt McKay, who started as director of communication for Bimber, is now also the Director of Whisky Creation and Outreach at Dunphail, and selected the first four ‘The Dava Way’ bottlings. Until Dunphail has a regular revenue, The Dava Way will allow Dunphail to gain visibility and help the operational revenue. Matt reached out to me to offer to send me samples of those bottlings, and obviously I could not refuse!

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